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Although one-click roots are available for many Android Phones, some of them (the HTC Incredible S, for example) require a more complex rooting process. Rooting Android Phones like the Incredible S requires the use of the ADB (Android Debug Bridge), a critical component of the Android SDK (Software Development Kit). Essentially the ADB allows you to interact with the phone's file system using a terminal interface, critical for many rooting and customization operations.

We'll show you how to download and install the ADB so you can use it with your Android Phone:

  1. Download the Android SDK.
  2. Packages are available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, although this guide will focus specifically on Windows. I recommend that you not download the installer, but rather download the archive file and decompress it to a folder on your desktop.

  3. Run the SDK Manager and Select Your Packages.
  4. The first time you run the SDK Manager, it will prompt you to download additional packages for use with the Android SDK. Since you're only going fr the ADB, you can reject all packages except for the Android SDK Platform-tools package, as shown in this screenshot:

    Once you click "Install," the SDK Manager will download and install the packages you've selected.

  5. Add the Android Platform Tools Directory to Your Windows Path (optional)
  6. Since you might end up running the ADB pretty often, you can add the Android Platform Tools directory to your Windows path so it's easier for you to run. There's a great guide on customizing your system's path variables here. Note: this step is optional and really only for your own convenience. If you're unfamiliar with the process of editing your system variables, you might want to create a system restore point before the change to make sure that if you mess anything up, you can always roll back to before you made the changes.

  7. Install the Google USB Driver Package.
  8. In order for your computer to interact with your Android device, you're going to have to download the appropriate USB drivers for the Android Development Kit to communicate with your phone or tablet. You can do this by following these steps (shown in the following screenshot):

    1. Click "Available Packages" from the left-hand tab.
    2. Click the plus sign next to "Third Party Addons" to expand the menu.
    3. Click the plus sign next to "Google Inc. add-ons to expand the menu.
    4. Check the box next to "Google USB Driver Package to select the package.
    5. Click "Install Selected" to install the Google USB Driver Package.

    Following the above steps will download and install the Google USB Driver Package to your PC.

  9. Setup USB Debugging on your Android Phone.
  10. On your device, you'll need to enable the USB debugging option to allow your phone to communicate with your computer using the ADB. Follow these steps:

    1. On your Android phone, click "Menu."
    2. Click "Application.
    3. Click Development.
    4. On the development settings screen, click "Enable USB Debugging.

    Now your phone is ready to communicate with your PC. Just plug your phone into your PC using the USB cable and you'll immediately see hardware installation begin on your Windows PC. Once the drivers have been successfully installed, your phone will appear in Windows Device Manager under the "ADB Interface."

That's it! Your computer is now set up and ready to use the ADB (Android Debug Bridge). With the ADB you can access all sorts of interesting areas of your phone that are normally out of reach, and most importantly, you can use the debugging interface to root android phones that are somewhat more difficult to root. We'll be discussing how to root some popular handsets in later posts, so keep an eye on Twittown!

May 5, 2011

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